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Tag: solitude

Nourishing the soul

Lavender fields

This coming week, I’ll have the luxury of time. Following plenty of grueling work, I’m taking a little vacation time, and I’ve also been given some comp time. With the weekend, I’ll have nearly a week off. I thought about taking an impromptu road trip, but ultimately decided to stay home.

So I’ve been giving thought to this question–how best to use this time to enjoy myself, to relax, to experience what brings me joy and pleasure–how best to nourish my soul?

I believe that the soul and body are differentiated, that the soul has its own trajectory before the body is born, which continues after the body dies. But for now, during this life, they are one–so what truly nourishes the soul also nourishes the body, and what truly nourishes the body also nourishes the soul. Meditation nourishes the soul, but it’s also been proven to change the mind for the better, as well as improve health outcomes for the body.

So here’s what I’d like to do next week … I may not get to all of it, but I’m going to have a good time trying!

  • As I do every week, I’ll take time to write. I hope I’ll feel inspired to write a bit more than usual.
  • I meditate twice a day, nearly every day without fail, but I often struggle to carve out the necessary time. Some months ago I accepted a challenge to meditate 40 minutes at a stretch for 40 days. It was a true challenge to find the time to do that, but often it felt like a true luxury rather than an obligation. I plan on some luxuriously long meditation time.
  • I’ve been thinking about a bath each and every day. That sounds like a little bit of heaven. (I take a shower every day, in case you’re picturing Pig-Pen! But I usually only have time to take a bath once a week or so.)
  • As a child, I read all the time, escaping into the world of books. I usually finished a book or two every day. These days, I read a lot of short-form writing, but books? Not so much anymore. I want to find a lovely new book and read it cover to cover.
  • While I’m at the bookstore, I’ll probably indulge in one of my favorite I-have-a-few-hours-all-to-myself activities. I like to select a large pile of magazines from an extensive newsstand, look through them, and choose two or three with the most beautiful images (useful for SoulCollage) to take home.
  • Perhaps I’ll feel inspired to make some collage art.
  • Have I mentioned sleep? Lots and lots of sleep-debt-erasing sleep.
  • Cooking is a beautiful way to be creative, and with immediate, tangible results too! I plan to cook something delicious and a bit decadent–probably my meatloaf, which I shape on a jellyroll pan, and cover entirely in bacon + glaze. Perhaps that’s more than a bit decadent?
  • I’ll definitely take some time to work in my garden. Gardening is a guaranteed way for me to quickly drop out of clock time and into the flow, where I feel I’m working hand-in-hand with God. It’s a great time to do some fall cleanup in the cool early morning hours.
  • Antiquing is another activity I find really relaxing. You never know what you’ll find, and usually I have no shopping agenda. There are no wrong turns, and serendipity very well may be around the next corner. You may see something you’ve never seen before, or find something stunningly beautiful–and be able to take it home for a song. (I’ve been to fancy antiques shows where I admired very old celadon pottery, each piece selling for thousands. But I find the glazes of 20th-century pottery just as pleasing, and nothing could be easier than finding a lovely piece, certainly for less than $100, and probably less than $50. A few weeks ago, I found a vintage red Swingline Cub stapler–à la Office Space, only one of the funniest movies of all time–for $6, and couldn’t have been more pleased.) I’ve made plans to visit one of my favorite town squares and its shops, antique and otherwise.
  • I love new experiences–they’re rather addictive once you start–and so I’ve made reservations at a restaurant I’ve never been to before. It’s in a restored 130-year-old house, just off that town square, that I can’t wait to see!
  • Naturally I’ll spend time with the people and animals who are important to me. I hope to get together with my sister. I’ll wish a friend who’s moving away bon voyage over brunch at a favorite restaurant. And hopefully the weather will be perfect for a visit to the dog park.
  • And of course, solitude is lovely too. There will be some (but considerably less than a hundred years!).

Probably some of the same things that feed my soul feed yours, but I suspect you have a long list all your own. How might you be able to nourish your soul today, or this week, in a truly meaningful way?

This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage card Lavender fields.

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Whatever happened to Hitler?

I grew up hearing an awful lot about hell. To hear the minister I grew up listening to tell it, the vast majority of people were headed there, and it was a slippery slope for those of us sitting there listening to the hellfire-and-brimstone sermon. We were the elect, and yet … there still seemed to be the possibility of something going terribly, terribly wrong for us if we didn’t do things just exactly as the minister said they should be done.

It’s been some time since hell seemed credible to me, if indeed it ever did. Thinking back, even as a child those tales of Satan and the fiery pit sounded wild and over the top. Unbelievable, you might say.

These days, always with the principle of uncertainty in mind, I’m much more inclined to believe that we come here many times to learn all of life’s lessons. I’m inclined to believe that we’re mostly all doing our best, and that usually (OK, always) it’s people’s egos rather than a fork-tailed Devil leading them astray.

However, it’s pretty undeniable that there are some people who are downright evil, and Hitler is of course everyone’s favorite example. And if there’s no hell for Hitler, what exactly happens to someone like that (or like Dick Cheney)? I’ve actually wondered for some time exactly what Hitler might be up to now, and how the reincarnation of someone like that might be handled (if at all).

Yesterday I had some time to kill between an errand and dinner in another city, so I went to Barnes & Noble, gathered a few books that looked interesting, and sat down with a salted caramel mocha to peruse them.

And found an interesting theory, not to say a fairly credible answer to my longstanding question.

Two of the books I picked up were Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls (the one I ended up buying).

Michael Newton’s story is somewhat similar to Brian Weiss‘s. He was a highly skeptical hypnotherapist who was into science, not new age stuff, when he accidentally regressed a subject to a time frame he didn’t even believe in–one prior to the subject’s current life.

His work is different than Weiss’s in that he focuses fairly exclusively on the period between lives, from death to reincarnation. He’s also been interested in developing a model of how things work on the other side, by integrating the various reports of his clients, who are at various levels of soul maturity and have differing specialties and expertise.

In his books he presents his models, illustrating each point with a case study interview. The two I found quite interesting in relation to my question were with two people whose work on the other side is with the healing and management of souls who’ve committed serious wrongdoing, or outright evil and atrocities, while incarnated.

One thing that’s consistent in Newton’s interviews of his subjects is frequent references to having limited knowledge, and to being very junior in comparison to others with much more expertise. (These souls are typically advanced from the perspective of Earth, junior from the perspective of the other side.) Newton points out that his work is necessarily limited by only interviewing those who are still incarnating, who are clearly not the ones with the most knowledge of the subjects being discussed. Nonetheless, the books are utterly fascinating and unlike anything else I’ve ever read in their level of detail.

In the case of serious wrongdoing, Newton’s case study source indicates that healers work with the damaged soul’s energy, repairing, reweaving, and reshaping it in preparation for the soul’s reparations work. The goal is to increase the likelihood of the soul’s future success, while leaving necessary soul memory intact.

In the case of those who have committed evil, persistent cruelty and harm to perhaps many others, the case study source reports that those who work in this area evaluate whether or not the soul is “salvageable.” If so, the soul is offered three options (otherwise, only the final two).

  1. Be rehabilitated, and then make karmic reparations in a series of lives in which the soul will experience “an equal measure of the same kind of pain they have caused to many people.” Newton’s case study 21 reports that most souls don’t have the courage to take this option.
  2. Be remodeled, which involves significantly diluting the soul’s energy (and thus identity) with fresh energy, such that the negative effect of the original energy is no longer present. This process is intended to set the soul up for future success.
  3. Go into limbo, a place of solitude. This option is chosen in preference to option 2 by souls who “will not stand for any loss of identity.”

I’d read before of a healing process for souls who’ve had difficult lives and require extra help recovering that one author refers to as “cocooning.” I’d wondered if perhaps someone like Hitler would be cocooned indefinitely. I suppose this thought bears some resemblance to option 3.

If you’re interested in the afterlife, the soul’s progression, and our work and purpose both here and on the other side, I recommend Destiny of Souls. I think you’ll find it as fascinating as I do.

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